One of the fundamental questions of Enterprise Architecture is how to measure the value of the enterprise architecture program. Then again is Enterprise Architecture a program or a business function, I my opinion it can be both.
I have investigated how Enterprise Architecture contribute to the enterprise with value but also how the value can be measured. The investigation took me through four different paradigms and through the triangulation of the theory for each of the paradigms. The four paradigms I ended up investigating were functionalist paradigm, the interpretive paradigm, the radical humanist paradigm and the radical structuralist paradigm (Burrell & Morgan 1979 and Hirchheim & Klein 1989).
I found out that the various philosophers that can be identified within each of the paradigms have different views on what value really is and that lead to that I chose to focus on four philosophers (one from each of the paradigms).
The focus of the paper then turned to how a Chief Architect for any given Enterprise Architecture program can apply ideas presented in each of the paradigms to investigate a systemic approach as the Enterprise Architecture program.
This lead to an idea that the Chief Architect has to see the enterprise from several different angles and each of the angles needs to be taken into consideration when the investigation of value is taken processed.
In the paper I have made some examples of how each of the paradigms can be applied in the investigation and what questions should be asked when the Chief Architect designs his or her approach to collect information and evidence that support his or her claims on how the enterprise architecture creates value.
The core concept of the paper is that systemic programs, processes or functions needs to be investigated through several perspectives before anything can be said or concluded about them and each enterprise is unique and therefore should each attempt to investigate the EA program be customized for the particular enterprise.
I am of the opinion that the paper shows how the Enterprise Architecture program adds value both through monetary issues like increased profit and competitiveness but also through that other elements in the enterprise is taken care of e.g., the work environment and the ability to improve the platform for innovation etc.
These factors have to be taken care of to ensure that the enterprise in the long run will be able to achieve a competitive advantage by using enterprise architecture and for that matter Coherency Management. If the enterprise isn’t seen as an holistic entity and the various elements of the enterprise architecture program isn’t dealt with through different perspectives that aides the Chief Architect and the other stakeholders in the enterprise with understanding why it is important that they commit their effort and resources to the Enterprise Architecture program.
To conclude the this blog post then I will make use of a quotation by Aristotle.
“The whole is more than the sum of its parts” – Aristotle
Download the paper here or read it online at issuu.com.
Peter, I did some similar work on applying Hirscheim and Klein’s four quadrants to explain or account for the self-reported accounts software architects as part of my PhD. I came up with similar analyses and also concluded that the effective architect draws on all 4 perspectives at times. I can send you a link to the content if you are still interested in this. Also my blog on all things design theory is at designerlythinking.wordpress.com
That would be nice of you.
Peter Flemming Teunissen Sjoelin
Peter, to see my narrative on how architects effectively behave in each of the 4 modes you investigated, go to http://arrow.monash.edu.au/hdl/1959.1/149682 and download the thesis, look at 2.2.1 page 17, depictions of each philosophical position thru the rest of chapter 2, and then the Discussion chapter page 228. You will find many echoes of your thinking here!